Pain, suffering, and loss are just vehicles personal triumph and dignity in Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella The Old Man and The Sea. Take a nice and relaxing deepsea fishing adventure with a salty old sailor and his trusty boat. Written in rich and complexly interwoven language. With lots of run on sentences. Good, strong run-on sentences. Sentences that were running on when I was a boy. Sentences that will run on forever.
“Man is not made for defeat…A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”: The Sea was Calling Me Home – Jonathan Richman
The Sea: The Ocean – Velvet Underground
Lou Reed is basically the rock n roll version of Hemingway: brooding, manly, no nonsense, uncomfortably obsessed with deformed cats and spearing things. I wonder if Hemingway ever dated a guy like Rachel.
The Old Man: Ole Man Trouble – Otis Redding
You gotta love how tough the old codger is. I don’t care if he is allegorical representation of common man’s strength against nature or religion or criticism or whatever…he still is pretty much a Cuban badass. Like Tony Montana with an oar and sardines instead of a M16 and mountains of coke.
The Boy: Fisherman’s Blues – The Waterboys
“Gee, mister. I’d love to fish with you, but my parents think you are cursed, miserable dead weight. But I can carry your tackle box to the boat trip that will most certainly kill you slowly.”
“Salao”: Bad Luck – Langhorn Slim / Troubled Waters – Cat Power
If it wasn’t for bad luck, my life wouldn’t blow.
The Baseball Box Scores: Joe DiMaggio Done It Again – Billy Bragg and Wilco
I imagine that if we got this guy a laptop and a league, he would rock at fantasy. His team name would probably be some horrible fishy pun though like the The Florida Marlin Killerz or the Kirby Buckets of Fishguts or the Blue Gil Meches
Sailing Away: Shiver Me Timbers – Tom Waits
I wish somebody would shiver my timbers. 😦
The Skiff: Mystery Ship – Mystic Tide
Row, row, row your boat should not be a funeral dirge. But it works in a pinch.
Drifting: On the Sea – Beach House
You know how the old saying goes: “Water, water, everywhere. Drink as much as you’d like.”
The Fish, My Brother: Strangers – The Kinks
“Fish,” he said, “I love you and respect you very much. But I will kill you dead before this day ends.” Truth.
Cramped Hands: I’m Cramped – The Cramps
(This is a song about being cramped in case you hadn’t figured that out)
This dude held on to a slicing fish line with cramped, bloody hands for several days and I complain of thumb aches after playing a rigorous round of Angry Birds. Sigh.
“I Wish the Boy Were Here”: Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Yeah, yeah, I know. Sorry, but you know, it does have a line about a fish…so it totally fits.
The Night: The Sea and The Rhythm – Iron and Wine
Well, if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear the relationship old man and the marlin is just slightly romantic. I mean the moonlit evenings, the sweet nothings, the soft caresses. What happens at sea…stays in the waves.
The Catch: You Really Got a Hold on Me – Percy Sledge
I’m totally hooked on this song. It has a line to my heart. It just keeps reeling me in. It leaves me with bait-ed breath. (Next time I do that, please email me and remind me to slap myself in the face)
Shark Attack: Shark Attack!!! – Los Superavengers
“At least, I’ve got this little knife tied to tie to an oar. I chased them off. I should probably be good now, right….”
More Sharks Attack: Shark Attack – The Triptides
Sailing Back: Long Way Home – Tom Waits
Always the best way to get back…And, you’re damn right, two Tom Waits songs.
Admiring The Bones: Sea Shanty – The Pogues
I don’t really know what the hell this song is about. But I figure it as likely to be about a bunch of nautically-inclined folks admiring the size of a marlin skeleton as it is to be about anything else. I am pretty sure Shane MacGowan neither knows nor cares.
Coughing Blood: Not Dark Yet – Bob Dylan
When I read this in high school, I think I definitely identified more with the boy than the old man. During my re-reading, the opposite is very much true. And that kind of freaks me out.
Dreaming of Lions: Skokiann – Louis Armstrong
I know this song probably goes against the mood of the ending, but I just hope my feverish final deathbed dreams are soundtracked by soaring horns and a gleeful Satchmo. Oh, and my wife totally wouldn’t let me use Toto’s Africa.